Friday, Sep 18, 2020 | Last Update : 07:07 PM IST

178th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra114584081235431351 Andhra Pradesh6014625080885177 Tamil Nadu5142084589008618 Karnataka4943563830777629 Uttar Pradesh3362942632884771 Delhi2347011981034877 West Bengal2155801870614183 Odisha167161133466722 Telangana1650031335551005 Bihar164224149722855 Assam150349121610528 Kerala12221687341490 Gujarat119088999083271 Rajasthan109088906851293 Haryana103773816901069 Madhya Pradesh97906743981877 Punjab90032658182646 Chhatisgarh7777541111628 Jharkhand6710052807590 Jammu and Kashmir5971138521951 Uttarakhand3713924810460 Goa2678320844327 Puducherry2142816253431 Tripura2069612956222 Himachal Pradesh11190691997 Chandigarh92566062106 Manipur8430653951 Arunachal Pradesh6851496713 Nagaland5306407910 Meghalaya4356234232 Sikkim2119178923 Mizoram15069490
  World   Asia  19 Nov 2019  Taliban release two Western hostages in Afghanistan

Taliban release two Western hostages in Afghanistan

AFP
Published : Nov 19, 2019, 5:13 pm IST
Updated : Nov 19, 2019, 5:13 pm IST

There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Afghanistan.

Three Taliban sources in the province also said the hostages had been releasead. (Photo: AP)
 Three Taliban sources in the province also said the hostages had been releasead. (Photo: AP)

Kandahar: The Taliban released two Western hostages in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, handing them over to US forces more than three years after they were abducted in Kabul, insurgent sources and police told AFP.

The release of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, comes one week after President Ashraf Ghani announced that Afghanistan would free three high-ranking Taliban prisoners in an apparent swap that he hoped would help jumpstart peace talks.

 

"This morning at around 10:00 am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters," a local police source said.

Three Taliban sources in the province also said the hostages had been released.

 "We released the professors and are now expecting the Kabul government and Americans to release our three prisoners as soon as possible," one of them told AFP.

There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Afghanistan. Afghan officials in Kabul said they would release a statement shortly.

Ghani had first announced the exchange on November 12, saying the Taliban prisoners held at Bagram prison would be "conditionally" released. They include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network, a notorious Taliban affiliate.

 

Afghan authorities accuse Anas of a being a high-level player in the network. The Taliban has long demanded his release, insisting he is a student.

The other two Taliban prisoners to be released are Haji Mali Khan, believed to be the uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, and Abdul Rashid, said to be the brother of Mohammad Nabi Omari, a member of the Taliban's political office in Qatar.

Ghani said he hoped the swap would "pave the way" for the start of unofficial direct talks between his government and the Taliban, who have long refused to negotiated with the Kabul administration.

King and Weeks were kidnapped by gunmen wearing military uniforms in the heart of Kabul in August 2016.

 

They later appeared looking haggard in a Taliban hostage video, with the insurgents going on to say that King was in poor health. Ghani said Tuesday that the pair had been "deteriorating while in the custody of the terrorists".

Tags: taliban, ashraf ghani
Location: Afghanistan, Qandahar